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A stand-in monitor for a sick laptop

Question : My laptop screen is damaged and it will be a while before I can afford to get it replaced. Although the screen is barely visible, the rest of the computer seems OK, but is there a way to connect it to a separate monitor or TV

Answer : The screen is often one of a laptop's most expensive parts to repair, but while you are saving up for it, you should be able to plug it in to an external monitor to see your laptops display.

In most cases, you can usually connect a laptop to the monitor with a 15-pin VGA cable, available in most computer-supply stores. Most modern PC laptops include a VGA port just for doing so. If you have a recent Mac laptop, you probably have a video-adaptor dongle in the box to connect the Mac's digital video interface port to a VGA monitor; if not, you may have to purchase an adaptor.

Once you connect the laptop the desktop monitor with the VGA cable and turn everything on, your laptop may sense the connection and automatically switch the display to the bigger screen.

If it does not, you probably have to press the Function key and one of the F keys on the top row of the keyboard to switch to the external display. Look for the key with a picture of a video monitor or a CRT/LCD label; these keys vary by laptop manufacturer.

If you want to connect your laptop to an LCD or plasma television screen, the VideoJug site has a humorous five-minute tutorial at http://snipurl.com/23e1k.


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A stand-in monitor for a sick laptop


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